Weekly Food & Agriculture Update 2.22

Monday, February 22nd, 2021


February 22, 2021

  • Big Picture Outlook
  • The Week Ahead
  • A Quick Look Back
  • Contact the Team

Big Picture Outlook

Democrats Prepare for Party-Line House Vote on COVID Relief Bill – This vote, expected at the end of the week, will allow President Biden’s COVID relief bill to move forward to the Senate. The House Budget Committee approved the bill for a full House vote earlier today, February 22. This bill includes $16.1 billion for agriculture spending in areas such as USDA support to food supply chains, funding for land grant institutions and other groups that assist farmers of color, an extension of the 15 percent SNAP benefits increase, and funding for rural hospitals and communities to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines and food assistance.

Senate to Vote on Agriculture Secretary Nominee Tom Vilsack – On February 23, The Senate will allow 20 minutes of debate before holding the vote. Vilsack will likely face little opposition for his confirmation. Of Biden’s 23 cabinet nominees, 15 have had an initial Senate hearing. Seven cabinet-level nominees are currently confirmed—Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough, and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.

Immigration Bill Requires Farmworker Overtime and Offers Expedited Citizenship – House and Senate Democrats introduced a sweeping immigration reform bill endorsed by President Biden on February 18. The largest immigration bill introduced to Congress this session contains provisions to offer expedited citizenship to agricultural workers and require farmworker overtime but lacks any expansion or reform of the H-2A program. The bill’s sponsors, including Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), acknowledge that passing this bill will be difficult without using budget reconciliation to bypass the need for Republican support.

Former President Trump Acquitted for the Second Time – The Senate acquitted the former President on an impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection with a vote of 57-43. Seven Republicans joined Democratic colleagues for the most bipartisan impeachment vote ever, but short of the 67 votes necessary to convict.

The Week Ahead 

Monday, February 22
  • 9:30 AM EST: Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to examine the nomination of Merrick Garland to be Attorney General, Department of Justice.
Tuesday, February 23
  • 9:30 AM EST: Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing to examine the nomination of Debra Haaland to be Secretary of the Interior.
  • 10:00 AM EST: House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Relate Agencies will hold an oversight hearing on the Office of Inspector General, USDA
  • 10:00 AM EST: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will hold a hearing to examine the nomination of Xavier Becerra to be Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Wednesday, February 24
  • 2:30 PM EST: Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship will hold a business meeting to consider the nomination of Isabelle Guzman to be Administrator of the Small Business Administration
Thursday, February 25
  • 10:00 AM EST: Senate Committee on Finance will hold a hearing to consider Katherine Tai to be the United States Trade Representative
  • 12:30 PM EST: House Committee on Agriculture will hold a hearing on “Climate Change and the U.S. Agriculture and Forestry Sectors.”
To see a full list of House and Senate Committee business, visit here.

A Quick Look Back 

Contact the Team 

Feel free to contact Michael TorreyTara SmithCassandra KuballJessica KuneyBarbara Patterson, Trey Forsyth, Perry Harlow, or Brandon Barnett with any questions or comments.